Qolsys IQ Panel 2 with Hardwire translator giving random tamper alerts

I have a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 that I’ve been running with a hardwire translator for about 4.5 years with mostly no issues. Recently I started getting alerts that random doors and windows were opening over and over, and now I’m starting to get alerts that some of them have been tampered. At first I thought maybe something was damaging the wiring of a sensor, but for this to be happening with so many different sensors, I’m assuming something’s wrong with the hardwire converter. How should I troubleshoot this and proceed?

Thanks

What model of hardwire to wireless translator are you using?

Is this related to a Surety subscription so I could take a look at signals on Alarm.com?

In general, whenever you see a tamper alert for a hardwired zone, that means that the resistance value for the sensor circuit fell outside of what the translator was expecting.

How long has this been going on and how many zones are showing the error? Is it always the same zones?

It is a 16 zone Qolsys hardwire translator, purchased about 4 years ago (not sure if there’s any other model info). It is not related to a Surety subscription. It’s happening with several different zones, about 5 so far, over the past few weeks.

All Hardwire 16 versions (aside from the new Hardwire 16F released this year) measure and set the expected resistance for each zone at the time of learning that zone into the translator and panel. Typically this resistance shouldn’t change, but it can due to wear and tear, corrosion, etc.

When the resistance is outside of the expected range (+ or - 5% I believe) it will cause issues like tampers. If the wire is loose or the resistance is too high it would show as open.

It is less likely that the Hardwire 16 itself would begin to have issues with only certain zones. I would expect all zones to be impacted if that was the case, though it is not impossible.

Is there any pattern to when the alerts are generated? Do all 5 sensors show an issue at one time? Do tampers resolve quickly or do they continue to be reported for an extended period?

Looking at the history on my IQ panel, the zones appear to show open/close or tamper/close events right after each other (including while we’re asleep), so the open or tamper is very brief before it’s closed again.

It seems to be pretty random, occurring at all hours of the day and night. Usually one zone will have problems repeatedly for a while, but throughout the day it’s a variety of zones firing when they shouldn’t, up to 5 that I’ve noticed so far. Most but not all zones have a few sensors wired in series going into them.

Is there any significance to most of the events being opens vs tampers?

Is there any significance to most of the events being opens vs tampers?

This would usually suggest loose wiring is more likely. Have you checked the wiring at the Hardwire 16? Have you tried removing and reattaching the sensor circuit wires just to ensure they have a solid connection? If they were snagged at some point they may have come loose. Just do one set at a time and make sure they go into the same terminals they were removed from.

Make sure none of the wires are too flattened or broken. You can strip back fresh wire to connect if need be.

The wiring for my setup goes from each door/window up to the attic, across the attic and down into a central closet where the hardwire translator is mounted near the top in a sealed panel. Nothing has disturbed the wiring in the panel or closet. At first I suspected maybe an animal had gotten into the attic and attacked some of the sensor wires (this was kinda far fetched), but there’s no sign of that either.

As for the wiring going into the hardwire translator, it seems as solid as when I installed it. The series of connections between sensors are solidly twisted, taped, and bundled. The connections into the hardwire 16 are still solid. The connection to the resistors are crimped and also seem solid, but now I’m wondering if those resistors might be a point of failure?

Here are some pictures of the wiring going into the panel. Each red crimped connection contains a resistor. The second pictures shows how multiple wires at bundled in series at the bottom:

Each red crimped connection contains a resistor.

Are the resistors cut down to the size of the one end of the red butt connectors? It looks like they are crimped at both ends so I am having trouble picturing where the resistor fits.

It very well may be the resistor connection where an issue lies if everything else seems solid. The way the issue is presenting it would suggest loose wiring. You might also see it from misaligned sensor/magnets but for many to occur at once it is much more likely an issue where the wires consolidate.

The resistor is butt connected to one of the wires in a pair and trimmed a little short. Here’s a closeup pictures:

One symptom I started noticing is some really big chime delays, including with zones that so far haven’t been doing the ghost open/tamper thing. The delays are as big as 6-7 seconds before I hear a chime. This never used to happen until the recent problems began. If this were a software system I’d reboot the machine, but since it’s mostly hardware and wiring, I’m not sure what to think.

Still battling this. My multimeter shows all the zones I test are closed with resistance as expected. I tried some new resistors, and I even tried swapping in another hardwire translator (relatively cheap off of ebay) with the same result. About 7 zones are acting up now.

Is it possible that the problem isn’t the wiring, sensors, or hardwire translator, but the IQ panel 2 itself for some reason? It’s not clear to me whether the hardwire translator or the IQ panel is responsible for processing sensor signals and determining when something is open or tampered.

One symptom I started noticing is some really big chime delays, including with zones that so far haven’t been doing the ghost open/tamper thing.

Is the delay in chime coinciding with a delay of open sensor notification at the panel, or is just the chime delayed?

If this were a software system I’d reboot the machine, but since it’s mostly hardware and wiring, I’m not sure what to think.

Have you rebooted the IQ Panel 2? If not, you will want to do this (Settings -> Advanced Settings -> Power Down) once powered down wait about 30 seconds then power up. Any Change?

What is your panel’s current firmware version?

It’s not clear to me whether the hardwire translator or the IQ panel is responsible for processing sensor signals and determining when something is open or tampered.

The hardwire translator is the only device that “knows” the status of the sensor, it passed that along to the panel.

Is the delay in chime coinciding with a delay of open sensor notification at the panel, or is just the chime delayed?

The delay seems to have gone away after I restarted the panel a few days ago. I’ll check this if it comes back.

I had not tried an actual shutdown->wait 5 minutes->restart until today though, so I just did that. I also happened to just upgrade the firmware before I saw this post. The current software version now is 2.3.4-ADCS 5.20-ADCL 5.20. The hardware version (FWIW) is Rev F.

It’s been about 2 hours since the shutdown->restart and the firmware upgrade, and there have been no false alarms yet (which is a slight improvement).

That’s good to hear!

Should the problem persist, the next option would be to remove the sensors/Hardwire 16 from panel programming, reset the HW16 and start from scratch to see if the problem sticks around or not.

the next option would be to remove the sensors/Hardwire 16 from panel programming, reset the HW16 and start from scratch to see if the problem sticks around or not.

I did actually try that the other day, resetting the hardwire 16, deleting sensors, rebooting the panel, and even swapped in a different hardwire 16, all with the same results. I just hadn’t done the panel shutdown->wait->restart. I’m super curious why that might have helped.

I did actually try that the other day, resetting the hardwire 16, deleting sensors, rebooting the panel, and even swapped in a different hardwire 16, all with the same results

If you replaced the HW16 with a different HW16, and still got the same result as before, this pretty much rules out the HW16 as the culprit directly, Leaving wiring or sensor issues as a culprit as well.

Out of curiosity, what was the Firmware before?

Out of curiosity, what was the Firmware before?

I did not note the firmware before, unfortunately.

A few more hours, still no false alarms. I’m really surprised so far. As you said and as one would expect, if it’s the hardwire 16 that determines when a sensor is open, why should the IQ panel’s health/version/etc make a difference?

Firmware on the panel informs a lot of things, including how the panel interprets signals from devices. It is unlikely but possible that your panel was previously updated to a version which had a bug listening to the older Hardwire 16 being used. (If the Hardwire 16 is 4 years old or so that would be one of the early models)

The Hardwire 16 is the only thing that can tell if a sensor circuit is open or closed, but the panel may have been mishandling supervision messages. Ultimately firmware is always a good thing to check and update if a strange issue is unresolvable normally.

A power down/power up can resolve certain software process errors as well. In this case it is more likely that the firmware had the effect.